Thank you, TwitchCon 2019, For Helping Me Believe in Myself

IMG_3044
Pumpkin Spiced and Ready for TwitchCon

The day before I left for TwitchCon this year, I was having the worst bout of imposter syndrome. I was putting stickers and business cards into small plastic bags, thinking “is this work even worth it?” Would anyone want those stickers, anyway? Would anyone even want to say hi? To meet me? To talk with me for a little bit about their TwitchCon experience? Would I live up to the excitement they had about the possibility of seeing me? I wanted to attribute it all to the typical bouts of anxiety that I normally have, but this one felt so much more insidious, because it was right before the one trip I was looking forward to since the beginning of 2019.

Luckily, it stood no chance against all the love I received at TwitchCon.

Last year’s TwitchCon was an amazing experience, mostly due to the fact that I pushed myself out of my comfort zone, and showed myself that I’m way more capable with making connections than I originally thought. This year, it was even more important because it allowed me to be okay with feeling important, and realizing that I am to more people than I thought.

I’ve never felt like my passions were valid because I never felt like I deserved the support to take them where I wanted them to go. I had friends who would be nothing but encouraging about my endeavors, but I was raised around messages and implications that said my passions weren’t worth the attention.  More often than not, I feel like I was raised to be invisible. I’m not used to so many people seeing me, smiling, and thanking me for what I do. I’m not accustomed to the feeling of being seen.

IMG_3328
Some various members of my stream team, The Plant Army, and some other amazing people!

This year wasn’t unlike the last one, where I got to meet so many streamers that I vibe with, am friends with, and that I look up to, but what was different about this one is just how many more people I got to meet who felt the same way about me. Pursuing content creation as a career can be so isolating, especially when you only have your own thoughts, and words on a screen to support you in moving forward. Several people I’ve met on Twitch have told me that they love my streams, and love being in the channel for whatever reasons they may have, and it’s always nice to hear that. However, it was absolutely mind-blowing, and incredibly affirming to hear the same people say these things in person. I’m not used to someone looking me in the eye, and telling me that I’m absolutely going to make it, doing what I do.

The things that made this year so different were the meetup with my stream team, and The Big Queer Beach party that I helped my friend ThatGayGinger plan.

IMG_3329
Plant Army Stream Team Meetup!

The stream team that I’m on (and am also one of the team leaders for), the Plant Army, is a group of inclusive, community-oriented, and interactive live streamers, founded by an incredibly talented streamer herself, mischacrossing. Ever since I joined this team, I found my forever home on Twitch, so the meetup was absolutely something I was looking forward to. As one of the leaders of the team, I felt a lot of pressure to be my absolute best, but once I got to the meetup, I was immediately at ease. Everyone was just as loving as they are online, and just like I did when I was accepted into the team, I felt right at home. All I had to do was show them who I already am.

They were everything I was hoping for, and more. They’re the kind of group I want to see grow so much on Twitch, that everyone will know just how easy and satisfying it is to be accepting. To show that just a little kindness can go a long way. The impact that this team has already had is so big, and I can’t wait to see all these little saplings grow to be such giant, loving trees.

img_3090.jpg
StealthCT, mischacrossing, and I!

Getting to connect more with the founder, mischacrossing, and my fellow Plant Army leader, StealthCT, was an absolute honor, as well. When I first stumbled across Mischa’s channel, I honestly thought she was always going to be too cool to even notice me, let alone make me a leader of her stream team (which I’m fully aware is my own brain being awful). When I first met Stealth, I thought maybe we’d only talk every once in a while and keep things professional, but now I consider him such a close friend. By the end of the trip, the three of us were cuddling on a couch in their Airbnb.

I love them both with my whole heart. I’m so glad the trip allowed us the time to get more acquainted with each other, because now I definitely feel like they’re part of my Twitch family.

The other event that made this trip so fulfilling was the Big Gay Beach Party that I helped my friend ThatGayGinger plan. At first, this was an event that they and I thought would be cool for a fun, chill way to end our TwitchCon with some queer friends in the Twitch community. However, once the event had over 100 people interested, and ThatGayGinger had to get a permit for the event, we realized we were doing something bigger than we originally intended.

img_3145-e1570518178146.jpg
ThatGayGinger (Patrick) and I!

The party started at De Anza cove in Mission Bay, where we all soaked in the ocean air while getting to know one another. The second half was at a local gay bar called Hole in the Wall, which included a DJ set from Plant Army stream team member and super talented boy, StealthCT, one of my favorite boys on the entire planet. Though ThatGayGinger 100% did most of the legwork for getting both parts of the event planned, it was an absolute honor to be their stunning, metaphorical secretary in a pencil skirt, as they called me almost every day a month out from the event to bounce ideas off of me.

But in all seriousness, getting to be involved in the planning process for an event that brought together so many queer streamers, viewers, and allies into one space (and pretty much filling up that entire bar) was an absolutely fulfilling experience. The amount of people who kept coming up to me to thank me for helping put together the event that they were looking forward to the whole weekend was more than I could have even imagined. Not only that, but apparently so many of the people there also see me as a great representation of the queer community online, to the point where the one chance I had to take a bathroom break was the moment I stood in there for several minutes to just breathe. To just soak in the moment. To stew in the fact that, yes, I am worth it. All these people would not be taking time out of their partying to come up to me, someone who constantly minimizes his impact, who never felt empowered enough to believe in himself, and who helped others see the worth in being empowered in their identity, if all the things they said were untrue.

 

 

I needed that party. I needed this trip, overall. I needed to remember that I am important, and that my efforts are worthwhile, even when my brain tells me that I’m not, and others suggest that it’s a waste of time.

Though last year’s TwitchCon made such an impact on me, TwitchCon 2019 was indefinitely more important for me as a content creator. Though last year was so important for me to get out there and see the value in working through anxieties to make strides in growing as a creator, this year was so much more important to realize exactly what my impact is, and that minimizing it would be an insult to its strength.

It was important because it helped me see that I matter. I needed to know that I mattered in this way, and I may not have gotten to this point soon enough, had I not taken this trip to San Diego.

I would love to individually thank everyone who made the trip so fulfilling, but I think they already know who they are, and I have a crippling anxiety about accidentally leaving someone out. But one person who for sure deserves some recognition is my friend, the one I stayed with for the trip, and the one I helped organize that big event, ThatGayGinger, aka, Patrick.

Without them, I may still have been able to believe in myself the way I deserve to, but it’s their kindness and generosity that sped it up, for sure. I have never met someone who was willing to go such lengths to bring people happiness, comfort, and positive change. We all deserve a friend like them, and I’m honored that I have them in my life. They are, without a doubt, part of my chosen family.

 

View this post on Instagram

Sometimes you have to wait longer than you’d expect to find your tribe. People come and go, some leave a lasting, good impact on you, but sometimes it takes a while before you find those people that you know you’ll be connected to for life. Two years ago, I met @that_gayginger. I didn’t realize it then, but he was exactly the friend I needed. As we started talking more, we realized how much we were meant to be friends, and after meeting for a second time over this last weekend, I realized he was more than just a friend; he’s part of my chosen family. He is willing to go any distance to take care of those he loves, to make sure everyone is having a good time, and gives his all with everything he’s passionate about. He wants the best for everyone, and I’ve felt that more than I’ve felt in such a long time. Thank you for being part of my family 💖

A post shared by Jeff Brutlag (@jeffbrutlag) on

Thank you, reader, for believing in me. Thank you for supporting me, no matter how you may have shown that support. Thank you for even clicking on this blog post, because that, to me, says you’re invested enough to see how my successes are unfolding. You’re important, you matter, and the kindness you extend to me does not go unnoticed. It’s that kindness that will keep me going, and it’s the kindness that even got me to TwitchCon, in the first place.

 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.